Infographic: Singles in America

24 Oct

I love infographics. I’m not a mathematician, and numbers make my brain feel fuzzy, so I love having a way to visualize what those numbers really mean. Given the caveat that I am absolutely not gifted in math, there may be errors in the following infographic, and if you find some, please feel free to point them out.

That said, I would like to present Singles in America: The Changing Face of Adulthood. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Pew Research Center, and quotes from Bradley R.E. Wright’s book Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites…and Other Lies You’ve Been Told, I compiled the following graphical representation of singleness in the United States.

The Changing Face of Adulthood

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5 Responses to “Infographic: Singles in America”

  1. ohgoddessanonymous October 24, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    Very interesting. A few questions, if you don’t mind sharing your views, and since you invited discussion.

    Do you include same sex marriages in these figures?

    In an internet, social media age, why does the church feel a need to focus on existing as a brick and mortar structure bent on increasing its attendance? Is it to spread morality (which is subjective, so in this case it’s the church’s particular view of morality), the word of God (which I don’t need a 3rd party to claim to be telling me if I have a personal relationship with the divine, and which is suspect when coming from a church that craves power over people), or to keep the coffers filled?

    Why do Christians and other evangelical theologies feel the need to spread their particular flavor of kool-aid? It just seems like such religions are based on ego of the self (“you must believe as I/we do”) rather than a desire to share the joys of love, harmony, all as one. It seems to me it doesn’t matter what path you take so long as it brings you closer to the divine and to peace on earth.

    On another note, great job on the infographic, and thanks for inviting discussion. I’m not a Christian myself (you can probably tell) but I’ve just read a bunch of your posts and I think they are thoughtful and well written. So please don’t think I’m a religion basher or anything, I just have these questions and am interested in your thoughts. Like you, I have friends of many persuasions and enjoy the discussions that brings up πŸ™‚

    • SWC October 24, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

      Wow, your questions might take another whole blog post or two to answer! πŸ˜‰ I absolutely don’t think you’re a religion basher or anything like it–in fact, some of the questions you pose here are things I’ve wondered about myself. And I think it’s important to question everything I believe, to make sure it stands up to it. I wouldn’t want to espouse any faith that couldn’t stand up to questioning. I don’t know if my answers will satisfy you, but I’ll do my best. πŸ™‚

      Your first question immediately made me realize yet again that, although I consider myself a GLBT ally, I still have a heteronormative viewpoint. I hadn’t even considered how same-sex couples would be reported by the U.S. Census. (cue a headdesk here) Since I took most of my data from the U.S. Census website, I went back there to see if I could find an answer for you. There’s a really interesting paper here (http://www.census.gov/hhes/samesex/files/Lofquist.PAA.paper.pdf) that discusses how same-sex couples respond to survey questions about marital status, but to simplify greatly, same-sex couples are included in the data based on how they self-report. So if two men are in a relationship and consider themselves married, they are likely to respond as married and/or spouses, regardless of whether gay marriage is legal in their state of residence. The paper indicates that, “Overall, at least 80 percent of all same-sex spousal households reported a status of ‘married’ in 2008, 2009, and 2010” (7). So I think I’m fairly safe in inferring that most people in long-term, committed same-sex relationships are included in the “married” category, but I wouldn’t assume that all of them are.

      Next question: Why does the church feel a need to focus on existing as a brick and mortar structure bent on increasing its attendance? To be honest, my internet friend Crosswired23 has done a great job explaining some of it in her blog post A Church Worth Sharing (http://wiredtolove.wordpress.com/2012/09/30/a-church-worth-sharing/), but the part of her post that resonated most with me was when she compared going to church with going to the gym. A lot of people can stay motivated to maintain their physical fitness without having gym memberships. But a lot of people (me included) have a lot harder time if we say we’ll work out on our own or at home. Of course, I don’t currently have a lot of room to talk, because I haven’t been to my church’s services in several months. They’ve been preaching about marriage and families and children, and frankly, I’ve been feeling alienated. Yet I do normally enjoy going to church and sharing that time with other people who also believe in God. Church is meant to be a time set aside from the busy-ness of life to reflect on what we believe, to worship God, and to try to learn more about how God wants us to live. A lot of that can be done online, and I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with getting that online, if that is someone’s preference. I’ve definitely had a lot of great conversations about God and religion and social justice with my internet friends. But a lot of people just can’t get the same benefits from an online group as they can from being with people in the same space.

      Next question–the doozy! Why do Christians and other evangelical theologies feel the need to spread their particular flavor of kool-aid? BIIIIIIIG question! πŸ˜€ There is one very easy answer, which is that in the Bible, Jesus told his disciples to go all over the world and preach the good news. So on a very basic level, it’s something Christians believe God wants us to do. Of course it isn’t as simple as that! When I find something wonderful, I want to share it with people. I want to tell my friends about a great book I read or an amazing place to eat. If I fall in love, I want to talk about the person I love all the time. So I think it just makes sense that when someone loves God, she wants to tell everyone about Him.

      But of course, there’s also always the kind of Christian who is less intent on sharing great news with people, and more intent on forcing “my way or the highway” down people’s throats. This always seems crazy to me, because if someone tells me I HAVE to do something or believe something, my natural instinct is to rebel. So I honestly can’t speak for people who think they have the right to shove their beliefs down other people’s throats without any consideration for those people’s feelings. I don’t get it. I want to share my beliefs with people, but I’ve learned so much from friends of all creeds that I can’t just dismiss them out of hand.

      When it comes down to it, I can’t say that I agree that all paths are equal, because Jesus said that belief in him was the only way to the Father. But I also think that love and harmony and peace on earth are all good things, and any belief that contributes to that must be a good thing, even if I don’t personally feel that belief is the BEST thing. And most of all, I don’t think it’s my job to judge. I think it’s my job to tell you what I believe, and to listen to what you believe, and to trust you to make up your own mind. πŸ˜‰

      • ohgoddessanonymous October 26, 2012 at 2:03 am #

        Nice response, thank you for sharing your thoughts πŸ™‚

  2. vershal December 9, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

    am 19 born again and i love God’s work but all the time in need to be in a serious relationship with a white girl.what to do.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Can I Get a Vaccine for the Season of Singleness? « Single White Christian - November 15, 2012

    […] maybe a lot of people will end up marrying. But then again, we’re at an all-time high ratio of singles-to-marrieds. Almost half the population is single. Sure, some of them have been married before. Some of them […]

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